One of my favorite of our YM360 values is “We Assemble Awesome.” I believe that great churches, organizations, teams, etc. are usually great because they have great people that are connected to a clearly defined goal. People are not just a tool to accomplish a task, they are a key asset to fulfill the mission.
In light of this, I have recently spent some time sitting down with some people here in our offices to hear a bit more about how they are advancing the Kingdom through their role and responsibility. Below are a few of the thoughts that Lindsey Tillman, YM360’s Serve Specialist and our newest team member, shared with me about what she does to help students during the summer through our SERVE experience.
Q: Why is the missions option at Generate Camp called “Serve” and not just missions?
A: Mark 10:45 states, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Our culture has transformed the word “missions” to a trip or an isolated week of service. We believe that through focusing in on the word “Serve” we will help our students realize that this isn’t just a week at camp, but a lifestyle. Serve emphasizes humility, and setting aside ourselves for the sake of others. We want that mindset to ignite passion and purpose in students to live a sacrificial life.
Q: How do experienced like this fuel Gospel advancement?
A: The advancement of the Gospel depends upon believers applying the Gospel to their own lives by doing whatever they must do to serve one another. The advancement of the Gospel doesn’t depend on us. It does, however, depend upon us serving one another. We desire for students to be a true example of Philippians 2:3-4, by looking to the interests of others rather than to their own. In a world so consumed with getting ahead and being comfortable, we believe that through acts of servanthood, the Gospel is exemplified.
Q: Let’s talk a little more about the serve experience at Generate Camp. What kind of work do students do in the community?
A: Students serve in countless ways in the communities surrounding camp. From leading Backyard Bible Clubs, cleaning homeless shelters, sorting and organizing at a food/furniture bank, to working with widows to help with home repairs. We desire to serve in any capacity we can.
Q: Time is limited for many of our youth leaders. How much work is it for them?
A: By choosing Generate: Serve, you get to have the major details of your trip figured out for you. We do all the behind the scenes work that comes with planning a mission trip. We delight in matching you with Mission Partners that would best fit your group. This way, you get to serve alongside your students, strengthening your relationship with them.
Q: Why do you love being a part of working with our Generate community partners?
A: Community partners provide a platform for students to put their faith into action. It’s so encouraging communicating with them. And they voice such excitement and joy over the fact that we want to partner with them. A lot of them don’t have an overload of volunteers, so they have a lot on their plate. It’s refreshing to know we are truly being able to help someone serve the community better.
Q: I’ve always said, “What happens during the one week of camp must have impact on the other 51 weeks. How have you seen experiences like “Generate: Serve” impact students or groups throughout the year?
A: Our culture values the “self.” The playing field is changed when that “bubble” is popped and people get out of their comfort zone. The Lord uses these students to serve, and in return they are changed. They return to their communities and families as changed young people with their “center” removed from themselves, and directed at Jesus Christ. It builds unity within youth groups, breaks down walls, and opens hearts to truly know and serve the Lord.
Q: Anything else you’d like to share?
A: Through my years in college and summers spent doing camp, I never imagined how everything I learned and was passionate about would come together in a job such as this. Working as the Serve Specialist I get to do what I love: serve the church. It's neat to see how much planning goes into camp and even more amazing to see how the Lord uses it to impact youth and adults like it did me. We are a family here at YM360 and look forward to that growing this summer through Generate!
So here is the reality for all of us. What we are doing through the SERVE experience at Generate camp is just one small way students can begin to serve and think beyond themselves. I hope each of you, regardless of your church size, would think through your strategy of how you are making servants in your student ministry.
I love that Lindsey reminded us of Mark 10:45 and how serving is the goal. There are countless resources and options out there to help you in this goal. Your challenge is to make sure your kids are not graduating your ministry with only a T-shirt collection to show for it. Make disciples that make disciples. Give students opportunities to serve and grow and you will be amazed at what you see.